My second murder mystery has been published, titled Rip-Off. People ask why you write one kind of book and not another. Why whodunit murder mysteries in my case? Why not literary family fiction?
I worked decades as an academic researcher at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. We surveyed three and then four-generation families concentrating on the relationships between the generations. So many stories in those survey booklets. Comments written in the margins and then continued on lined sheets torn from notebooks. Comments that would break your heart, or make your spirit soar that there was such hope, such giving and love still left in the world.
But that wasn’t the way my psyche directed the keyboard when I began to write. I wanted the drama of someone dying and as far as I know that never happened in our study families. My life is probably like most of yours, pretty normal for the most part. No walk on the wild side, maybe a skitter or two over to the edge when I was young and foolish.
Murder is pretty much the ultimate drama. Everything stops with murder and nothing is the same ever again. Not that homicide is the ultimate cruelty one person can do to another.
People do barbarous, stupid things. Somebody dies over a perceived insult, over five dollars, over a bad grade. Inexplicable stupid reasons. But in a murder mystery it has to come out right. Method, motivation, and opportunity must be clear.
Can you ever really know why somebody dies violently in the everyday world? In fiction the villain killed the victim because of love, hate, revenge, money, or glory. But we all know it’s more complicated than that. Sometime it feels to me as though it’s a big sloppy world with everyone biting everyone else and nothing really makes sense. Fortunately I don’t feel that way all the time.
That’s why I so enjoyed writing Rip-Off, my second mystery involving Detective Dave Mason of the Santa Monica Police Department and his activist girlfriend Ginger. I enjoy living in their heads, knowing what happened and telling the why. I’m fascinated by the way organized crime can look so pretty on the surface.
And I really, really enjoyed making all the stories come out right so that the villain(s) were truly, righteously punished.
This blog was first published at http://beverlystowemcclure.blogspot.com/ June 15, 2012